2022 Heath Clark Lecture with Dr Gavin Yamey
Story to strategy: the art and science of shaping global health
Albert Sabin, who developed the oral polio vaccine, said that “a scientist who is also a human being cannot rest while knowledge which might reduce suffering rests on the shelf.” Research universities generate such knowledge, which can be a crucial foundation for improving global public health if it is taken off the shelf and used by policy actors. How, then, can university-based researchers more actively shape global health policymaking in ministries of health and finance, bilateral and multilateral health agencies, foundations, and non-government organisations?
Dr Gavin Yamey—a medical doctor, journalist, editor, and global health researcher—begins by examining the growing evidence base on effective strategies to reach health policymakers, including establishing strong, two-way communication channels and timing key outreach with the right ‘moment’ in the policy cycle. He then shares how he has used such strategies in shaping a multidisciplinary evidence-to-policy laboratory at Duke University that is networked with universities and think tanks in six partner countries (Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, India, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar). This network is generating evidence for health policymakers on a range of challenges, including managing country transitions away from external health financing, achieving pro-poor universal health coverage, and funding pandemic preparedness and response. Finally, he reflects on some of the key opportunities and barriers to influencing decision-makers in global health and shares some of his lab’s own examples of success and failure—both of which have helped to refine the policy lab model.
Dr Gavin Yamey is a Professor of Global Health and Public Policy at Duke University, Durham, USA, where he directs the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health, a policy lab that tackles “big picture” strategic questions about the financing, governance, and delivery of global health. He is also the faculty lead for Duke's Program on Global Policy and Governance in Geneva. He has served on five Lancet commissions and is a columnist for TIME magazine. Dr Yamey trained in clinical medicine at Oxford University and University College London, medical journalism and editing at the BMJ, and public health at LSHTM.
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